Cuban Graffiti Artists Bring Social Critique to Havana's Walls

Written by Sophia Bass

A younger generation of Cuban artists are beginning to express newer social conditions through graffiti art in Havana. These works of art are touching on the shifting social and political views that are straying away from Communism. Some would say that newer demonstrations of Cuban art are symbolizing growing independence and materialism on an island that has been isolated for decades.

Graffiti began emerging under President Raul Castro in the last few years. As the Caribbean nation has slowly relaxed some of it's communist views and become more influenced by international culture, there has been a rise in Cuban street art.

Cuban artist, Yulier Rodriquez states, "I want to create a social conscience with my work, an awareness about what we are turning into." His alien like creatures with malnourished limbs and heads, touch on the state of the Cuban people.

Although Cuba has began to transform in recent years, Rodriquez expresses concern that Cuban society is going towards a time of struggle, as many Cubans are forced to turn to illegal activities on the black market to survive.

Rodriquez has gained inspiration from Banksy and Jean-Michel Basquiat, both British and American street artists who create their art based on the social conditions of humanity. His recent work includes a character holding Donald Trump's head, reflecting Cubans' anger over the U.S. President's attitude toward recent U.S.-Cuban relations.

As Cuba has always been known for it's artistic expression, it will be fascinating to see how graffiti artists are received by the Cuban government during shifting social and political times.

Cuban graffiti artists bring social critique to Havana's walls


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